Aim: To stimulate and engage Key Stage 3 pupils through a library programme, and to allow more room for self assessment, peer assessment, reading and reflection time in the curriculum.
Background: The number of students with English as another language (EAL) was increasing year on year, and it was recognised that students needed support with literacy across the school, not just from within the English department.
Year 1: There was a focus on EAL pupils, with support sessions run on a carousel basis so that they did not miss the same lesson every time. Research was conducted with a local primary school to better understand the transition pupils have to make and staff had specialised training in order to increase their knowledge of strategies to support and advance EAL language development.
Year 2: The focus shifted to all KS3 pupils, in order to have a wider benefit. A new library programme was implemented with one lesson per fortnight allocated. A working party for whole-school literacy was set up and literacy resources were made available for all staff to incorporate into planning. A KS3 book club was launched and attended by staff from across the school, and a sponsored read raised £2,800 for charity. Other initiatives included a spelling bee and the launch of a Catch Me reading scheme which was embraced by staff and students.
Year 3: The library programme was adapted to reduce the number of assessed tasks and allow more time for reading and reflection. This adapted programme was piloted with Year 7 and 8 classes and pupils and staff evaluated the programme on a termly basis to allow it to be tailored further. Students raised over £3,400 for charity in the sponsored read, reflecting their increased enthusiasm for reading.
Evidence: Baseline assessments, student voice, pupil tracking, reading and writing assessments, teacher feedback.
Impact: Pupils have more opportunities to enjoy reading and to reflect on what they have read with peers and library staff. There is more flexibility for staff to ensure they can monitor pupil progress and encourage them to become more aware of their own learning. Pupils have been encouraged to use more ambitious spelling, punctuation and vocabulary choices, and staff and pupils feel a sense of ownership over the programme and over promoting literacy. Pupils have enjoyed the independence that the programme has given them, the chance to discuss ideas with peers and the creativity of the tasks assigned.
Reflections: As a department we have learnt that reluctant readers benefit from a structured programme which includes inventive and enjoyable activities. Working with their peers inspires many to read more widely and to challenge themselves with reading choices. All staff are more aware of EAL learners and that using literacy across the curriculum needs to be a whole-school initiative which can easily be incorporated through collaborative working.
Contact: Carolyn Harvey, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jen Harold, email@example.com